Another day, another poll: Yesterday the Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed that its survey of 725 Minnesotans again found overwhelming opposition to building pro sports facilities with public money. Respondents said the Twins don’t need a new stadium (56-35%) and shouldn’t get public money for one (68-29%); that the Vikings don’t need a new stadium (63-27%) and shouldn’t get public money for one (73-25%); and that even the University of Minnesota Gophers football team don’t need a new stadum (54-34%) and shouldn’t get public money for one (56-41%). As for the specific proposals on the table, residents opposed the state house plan to give the Twins $392 million in sales-tax money by a 55-38% margin, and opposed the state senate plan to give sales-tax funds to all three projects by a 49-45% margin.
And how did the Star Tribune, which has been stumping for a new Twins stadium for more than a decade, interpret these results? With a followup story a day later noting that when those outside the Twin Cities were asked about imposing a Twins sales tax solely on Hennepin County, they only opposed it by a 48-40% margin! It’s practically a groundswell!
In other poll reactions:
State house speaker Steve Sviggum dismissed the results, saying, “There are some times when you have to lead and you have to move ahead when you feel it’s in the best interests of the state.” Sviggum then added: “I don’t want to tell voters they’re wrong. That would be very arrogant.”
Brian McClung, a spokesperson for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, declared: “Gov. Pawlenty above all puts a premium on leadership and occasionally that means those on the extreme on either end of the political spectrum are going to be upset with you.”
State senator John Marty, a longtime stadium opponent, told Field of Schemes that the problem is legislators spend so much time talking to lobbyists that they no longer really believe the poll numbers: “Most legislators say, ‘Maybe that’s true statewide, but not in my district.’ They spend all day talking to the lobbyists, the Twins and Vikings executives, and they get all the astroturf, phony-grassroots lobbying. So they are convinced public opinion is split and angry on both sides, but basically favors this.”